Modern emulators allow you to play old-school titles even if you don’t have an original console at hand. The GBA games occupy a special place in the heart of any connoisseur of classic games. With this in mind, we’ve decided to recall the best GBA titles that made the legendary console so popular. Note that you can download a ROM for almost any Game Boy Advance game and play it using a dedicated emulator on a PC or smartphone.
A Few Words About the Game Boy Advance
The fifth generation of consoles, being the Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and Nintendo 64, was arguably the most important generation, when it comes to pushing console hardware to its fullest. The leap from 2D to 3D was massive and while most of the games from this generation were published in the first decade of the 21st century, its impacts can still be seen to this day.
Admittedly, the Gen 5 games allowed us to explore and mess around in 3D environments, but it was the sixth generation that took the first step into modern gaming. The Gen 6’s games had voice acting and dynamic camera angles, which couldn’t but impress even the most sophisticated gamers. In general, games were becoming more cinematic. Twilight Princess, for example, was often said to be on par with Hollywood motion pictures. But unfortunately, many games of this generation fell victim to time. Lots of avid fans of console gaming complained that the developers were missing the point on why they played games in the first place. Long gone were the days of the Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis, and it seemed as if the days of good old 2D games were over. But suddenly, in 2001, Nintendo introduced its new handheld, the Game Boy Advance, which made a splash among the fans of old-school gaming. This 32-bit console is famed for its 2D games that have never looked that good on a handheld. The GBA has an incredible first year of release with the games like Advance Wars, Golden Sun, Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, Wario Land 4, and many others.
And now let’s take a look at the GBA games considered the best. Note that these and other GBA ROMs can be downloaded from RomsHub.com, one of the most reliable and popular abandonware websites on the Internet.
#1 The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
The Legend of Zelda: the Minish Cap is the twelfth main installment in the Legend of Zelda series. The given entry was met with positive response from critics and received numerous accolades from the fans of the immortal Zelda franchise. The Minish Cap was also selected as the 2005th Game Boy Advance Game of the Year, and for a good reason. Capcom and Flagship took care to come up with a fresh continuation of Zelda’s story. The game couldn’t but fascinate players with the captivating storyline, fun quests, and a number of enhancements, including a better camera angle, improved item interface, and a whole host of new items to choose from. If you get the Minish Cap ROM, you’ll be able to help Link defeat the evil spirits that invaded the land of Hyrule and restore long-awaited peace.
#2 Golden Sun
It’s not a secret that any good RPG needs a strong narrative to get players to put 30 plus hours into it. And though Golden Sun, another game published for the Game Boy Advance in 2001, doesn’t boast sophisticated storytelling, its plotline is still quite captivating and well-paced. Add to this a deep and varied combat system, excellent use of magic, and treasure trove of secrets, and you’ll get a fascinating title standing out as a fan favorite.
So makes Golden Sun so beloved? Undoubtedly, it’s a combination of things. The game is pretty easy, yet not shallow. The game’s success also has to do with timing. See, Golden Sun was released in the summer of 2001. Although the GBA has a number of classic RPGs ported to it over its long lifespan, the fact that Golden Sun was a fantastic original right after the handheld came out was a huge point in its favor.
The game’s plot starts with a literal bang – a volcanic eruption. You control a silent protagonist Isaac awoken by a terrible storm in his usually quest hometown. Your mission is to explore the Sole Sanctum once raided by a gang of thieves and uncover the mystery of alchemy.
Mechanics-wise, this game is a pretty standard role-playing title featuring an overworld full of random games to stumble into. There are towns, caves, forests, and dungeons, scattered all over the map. If you want to explore all these things, don’t hesitate to download a Golden Sun GBA ROMs download for your emulator.
#3 Final Fantasy VI
Nintendo classic games are famed for their dynamic, engaging quests, and unique game mechanics. Final Fantasy VI that came out in 2007 in North America has it all and even more. This Final Fantasy tactics rightly wins its place on the list of the timeless GBA classics for its eye-catching 3D graphic, amazing sprites, and engaging story. Moreover, in this Final Fantasy game, you meet a plethora of some of the most relatable characters in RPG history who attempt to save the world from the forces of evil.
Get Final Fantasy VI for your Game Boy Advance emulator and dive headfirst into fighting, leveling, and grinding through a multitude of battles. And the developers took care to make the battles as balanced and enjoyable as possible. There are also lots of side quests you can complete to boost your chosen character and make your way towards victory. Don’t miss the opportunity to have so much fun with the Final Fantasy VI ROM!
#4 Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2
It would be criminal not to add the most popular remake of Super Mario World game to our list. As far as Super Nintendo ports go, Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2 is one of the few that actually does the original title justice.
The story of this game is pretty general. Evil Bowser has stolen Princess Peach and locked different Yoshi eggs in different castles with each of his children. Yep, this time around Bowser has children. What’s more, this time there’s Luigi helping Mario in his noble mission. Luigi spices up the game not only with his fresh green looks, but his unique abilities. He’s a little slower than Mario but can jump much higher. With Luigi being a full-fledged playable character, the game gets more engaging and peculiar.
The power ups are also making its comeback in this game. You can enjoy the boosts granted by the super mushroom and fire flower. And making its debut is a super feather, which gives Mario a magic cape which allows him to fly. This game may not be as elaborate as Super Mario Bros. or some of other Mario games, but it is in no way a weak link either.
#5 Advance Wars
Another game that deserves being mentioned on the list of the best Game Boy Advance games is Advance Wars.
Advance Wars is a turn-based tactical strategy role-playing GBA game that was published as part of Japan’s never-ending quest to get this style of game to catch on in the West. And this time the game hit the spot. Advance Wars did sell half a million copies in North America alone. So, yep, Advance Wars is really accessible. You can maneuver infantry, tanks, helicopters, bombers, fighter jets, artillery, and battleships. And your maneuverability and strategy depends on your positioning, terrain, and sometimes the weather. You can also join the damaged units, capture basis and cities to replenish health and provide money and supplies. Thankfully, you can even save your game in the middle of the battle and take up right where you left off. You can join in the battle right now if you get the Advance Wars game ROM!
As you see, the GBA features a huge library of terrific games that are worth being playing in the 21st century. Of course, you can pick any other game that haven’t been listed today and reunite with your favorite characters. Among the games you may want to play on your emulator are Metroid Fusion, Metroid: Zero Mission, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising, Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World or any other game from the legendary Mario franchise.
Go play the best games ever released for the Game Boy handheld!